These little fellows between the ages of 5 and 10 provided me the most memorable time in Myanmar. After a strenuous hike to their mountain monastery the novices were supposed to bring me to a cave for bathing. Well, in lack of privacy I skipped the bath. On the way they had picked berries and offered them by asking "you?" Not speaking the same language had no bearing on the dialogue that crossed between our hearts and I found mine overwhelmed. The highlight was their workout – jumping, hanging and swinging – in a tree. In Myanmar it is an honor for the family to send a child to a monastery, but in case of these lovely boys their parents simply could not afford enough for food and their education. While staying overnight in the huge praying hall I witnessed how much their parents are missed and how mentally unprepared these children were for the mostly unwanted independence. Hum, the youngest one, was crying for his mother after a nightmare. I felt helpless. It is disheartening to see a country so rich in natural resources like gold, jade and oil to be lacking in basic necessities for the healthy growth oft its children.
I had gone to Ecuador to visit indigenous people and I got to know Guillermo and his lovely family, they are Otavalos. While being with them I saw a traditional dance competition, in which his daughter Ila took part and won and I experienced their life full of tradition, affinity to nature, respect to all living beings, love to music, health consciousness and natural happiness. One day Guillermo took me to a hike into the stunning Andean surroundings to give a Shamanic cleaning to me. I felt his and nature's power. Guillermo gives Shamanic healing and teaches in school. We found many common thoughts and beliefs. I am always looking for people who integrate their inner wisdom and confidence in a modern life with amazing technological inventions and various influences.
Not exactly talkative and serious – that was my idea of Finns. I experienced the opposite while enjoying a sauna in Helsinki. They like to talk!!! And at the fireplaces of cross-country tracks I got easily in contact with locals, who shared drinks and meals with me. All of these encounters got topped by Marikki, a prime example of happiness combined with loving craziness. In June 2016, in the age of 55, she decided to buy a hotel and moved to the remote nature and cross-country paradise Äkäslompolo in Lapland. Because Marikki believed that life has still got much more to offer. Without any knowledge she built up a cosy accommodation with individually designed rooms, where you feel her caring being. I will never forget our long talks about adventures, travelling, being open minded, beauty of nature, her beloved five children and people in general. But what I like most about Marikki is her teasing sense of humour.
The terms strong, self-confident, open-hearted and lively describe Lucy the best. I got to know her while taking pictures of agricultural aid projects of the "Deutsche Welthungerhilfe". She had been an accountant before her husband died in a car crash in Botswana in 1998. After the accident, according to tradition, she moved with their little daughter and three sons to the family of her husband, where she did not get any support. That's why she became a farmer and has lived on the culture of maize, sweet potatoes and sugar cane since then. Nowadays, due to lack of job opportunities in Zimbabwe two of her sons need to work in Cape Town and Lucy takes care of their three children. She and her best friend Molly like to spend time together with cooking, chatting and simply having fun. While being with Lucy I admired how she enjoys her pristine life and she has kept a big smile in her heart even if the circumstances were difficult sometimes. We shared so much laughter together.